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Discussion in 'Med Business [ MD/MBA, DO/MBA, DDS/MBA ]' started by prominence, Aug 5, 2006.
Any thoughts on this specialized type of MBA?
There are two main parts of a big pharma company; the R&D and the Marketing (assuming we can ignore divisions like HR...). The R&D side employs PhD's for research, MD's for medical directors and to help design and run trials, etc. The marketing side has lots of MBA's and people who worked their way up the ranks from "carrying the bag" as a rep. The big decisions (i.e., which R&D projects to pursue, corp. strategy) actually comes from the marketing side, since this is where the big money is made (and lost). This is also where the big compensation happens (the science guys get paid nicely but the upside is limited).
Since you are posting on this forum, I'm assuming you have some science background, perhaps even an MD. If you are an MD/MBA, you can definitely make a go at the "marketing" side of the business, where the senior leadership lives. This may require you to start out in a "rotational" program, where you spend your first 1-2 years with a pharma rotating through different areas of the company (including spending time as a sales rep, which is very important to the marketing folks; this is often a deal breaker for MD's who want to go ths route).
If you want to go the science route, then you need the MD or PhD credentials to make the Pharma interested in you (i.e., experience in a field like Cardiology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Psychiatry and other categories with many blockbuster drugs). You can try to sell with "bridging both sides" argument with a background in both business and medicine, but you'll have to pick one side of the street eventually.
One interesting place in big pharma for an MD/MBA would be in the M&A group, where they look at licensing and acquiring compounds; you need the science bacground to understand the technology and pick winners and the business background to forecast sales and make deals, but these groups are very hard to break into.
thanks for the reply bluejay.
btw, whats "M&A group" mean? i am not familiar with that term.
Mergers and acquisitions. Since actual mergers happen (relatively) infrequently, the best title for the group you probably would be interested in would be "Business Development". Like I mentioned, this group looks at potential licensing opportunities or acquisitions for the company. They find these compounds or technologies and put together the proposal based on financial projections.
There are many early biotech/pharma companies out there with the exit strategy of selling out to a big pharma and not to take a target all the way to market. It takes tremendous resources to manufacture, distribute and market a major pharmaceutical product, and big pharma has the resources already in place to do it better than any startup. The big trend in pharma over the past few years (and for the foreseeable future) is for declining productivity of internal R&D and heavier reliance on licensed and acquired drugs.